The Kura began it’s existence in 1894 as Karikari Native School, and was located at the original site of Tamapahore Marae. The Education Board initially administered the school.
In 1943 that Kura moved to its current site and the name changed to Papamoa Maori School. The land for the Kura was gifted by Anamaria Pine Honiana. In 1968, after a series of community hui the name “Otepou” was adopted.
In 1992, Otepou was approved Kura Kaupapa Maori Status. Since 1993, there have been changes in the Kura, including legislative and aesthetical improvements. These changes could be likened to a journey.
The school is located within the boundaries of Ngai te rangi and Ngāti Pukenga, and Waitaha Iwi, and is surrounded by four maunga. Classrooms have adopted those maunga names – Kōpukairoa, Mangatawa, Kōwhararahi, Mauao. We remember the kuia that gifted the land for the school, and adopt her name to our pepi classroom.
Te Awa o Waitao provides the vehicle of sustenance and fresh water from Te Rere Kawau (Kaiate Falls) into Te Tahuna o Rangataua, from which the generations have, and still do, sustain their whanau – titiko, papaka, patiki, tamure and tuna.
The papaka holds particular significance to the area, and is noted in a tauparapara:
“Ko ngā pāpāka o Rangataua, He paruparu te kai.”